Knee bracing isn’t what it was 20 years ago, even 10 years ago. What was once a very cumbersome device attached to your leg is no longer.
The goal of a knee brace is to give you the ability to return to what you want to do. This can be anything, from playing with your kids or grandchildren, taking your dog for a walk, walking your stairs at home, or even being able to stand for longer periods of time at work or home.
When you can’t do what you used to it feels like your independence has been taken away. The feeling of being “stuck” with the mobility you have can make life pretty hard.
Although bracing may work for some, it may not work for everyone. By combining it with avenues such as physiotherapy and exercising, bracing has been shown that it can play a very important role in returning to your normal life.
When you book an appointment, your questions can be easily answered.
Common inhibitors associated with knee bracing
There are many people who use knee braces, and they all have their reasons in why they do. Some wear it during sports or leisure activities. Others wear it for work and everyday life purposes to keep them going throughout the day. Knowing this, there are a few common injuries and wear and tear changes that promote you to wear a brace;
- Ligament style injuries (ACL, MCL, LCL)
- Constant swelling in the knee or too much water retention (overweight, being inactive)
- Joint degeneration such as Osteoarthritis (OA)
Why did my doctor prescribe a knee brace?
Depending on your doctor, they usually believe that starting with a method that is most non-invasive and work through the stages towards a more invasive approach. When we look at those stages, bracing, being a device that you are able to wear at your leisure, will tend to be prescribed first to assist in relieving your knee pain.
How a knee brace can help with pain?
We first have to look at what is causing the pain in your knee. How long have you had this pain for and how much is the pain affecting your day-to-day activities? Once these are looked at, we can then get a better idea of what brace would be the best choice for you.
Bracing is a proven pain relief method. But, can also help with:
- Knee instability that causes pain
- Specific joint pain that causes pain
- “Stiff” or “stuck” feeling that is causing pain
- Swelling that causes pain
The types of Knee Braces available
There are many different types of bracing options available. The 3 main categories that we divide knee bracing into would be Custom Braces, Off The Shelf Braces, and Compression Knee Sleeves.
What are the differences:
Custom Braces: This style of brace is made specifically for the person that is wearing it. There are measurements that are taken prior to purchase to allow for the “perfect” fit. These braces usually are replaced within a 5-year period to continue to allow for the best fit.
Off The Shelf Braces: This style of brace can be purchased anywhere that sells knee braces. They are stocked in commonly used sizes (i.e., small, medium, large, extra-large, and so on). These braces do not have a specific replacement time frame. The replacement factor is all dependent on the activities the brace is being used for.
Compression Knee Sleeves: This style of bracing is only used for compression purposes. To help take away or reduce the swelling in the area and provide a small amount of support at the same time. These braces can also be purchased at any location that sells off-the-shelf products. They are also commonly stocked in small, medium, large, extra-large sizes, etc.
Custom Brace Companies
The bracing industry has been around for years, and in those years, there have been many different companies that work with and sell custom braces.
Two big names:
Ossur Canada: This company is known for many different styles of bracing. Being based out of Vancouver, they are one of the very few local companies in bracing. Having one of the lightest weight braces on the market has allowed them to stay competitive with other companies.
VQ Orthocare: This company is known for being one of the first to transition from a full metal frame and replace parts with more comfortable fitting aspects. Similar to others, this company is American-based and ships worldwide.
Frequently asked questions:
Why do the braces have different prices?
When we look at the type of brace, we look at different price points. An off-the-shelf model or knee sleeve, which can be purchased in most clinics or bracing outlets, is typically on the lower end of the price range due to the lack of any aspect of that brace being made specifically made for one person. A custom brace however is measured and fitted directly for the person who intends to wear the brace. There is much more work and time put into manufacturing the item, therefore the price of the brace must reflect it.
Do I need to wear my brace all the time?
We look back at what brought you in and why you need to wear it. The duration of wearing the brace will differ from person to person, and be solely dependent on what it is intended for. Normally, we recommend wearing the brace for an hour on the first day, 2 hours the next, and so on to allow yourself to be more comfortable with the brace. The more gradual the time duration of wearing it, the more likely you will be with the success of the brace.
How do I take care of my brace?
Your brace is like a new piece of clothing. Regular washing and gentle wear at first will be helpful. In the beginning, only wearing it for the assigned activities discussed during the fitting process and slowly building up your activity level by wearing the brace.
Contact us today for more information!